For the first time since the days of Dominque Davis and Sean Renfree, the Falcons have a developmental quarterback who might crack the top 53.
A good conversation broke out on Twitter Tuesday between myself, Aaron Freeman, and a couple of others from Falcondom on what’s to come of Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, the team’s priority undrafted free agent.
Benkert had a nice showing against the New York Jets in his first pro action before regressing a bit against the Chiefs. He’s got the arm people like to obsess over and seems to be a guy who could, as he grows, be a serviceable backup with a team one of these days.
Will that team be the Falcons?
The Ballad of Joe Callahan
Developmental quarterbacks are a tricky bunch to deal with, primarily when it comes to teams getting finicky about stashing them on their rosters.
The plight of poor Joe Callahan always reminds me of what happens when a kid shows promise and gets bounced around like a beach ball on the waiver wire when teams eager to see if he’s the next diamond in the rough at the position. The fact that those teams are the Packers (twice), Saints, Browns and Eagles should tell you enough about the types of teams who want guys like this.
The answer is everyone; everyone wants a developmental quarterback to groom like Callahan. They’re both easy and hard to get and tend to bounce from town to town. But if you strike rich, you’re darn happy you made the call to stash the kid.
The Falcons traditionally haven’t worried about this in the Dan Quinn era, but with incumbent backup Matt Schaub long in the tooth and on an expiring deal, it makes you wonder if this is really the time the team is going to have to find a new guy to hold the clipboard. Schaub’s got a $5 million price tag this year just about, and you know darn well the team won’t do that again with all these deals coming up.
Plus, c’mon, surely this guy wants to go enjoy the rest of his life with all his NFL money sooner than later.
Keep Him or Kut Him?
Benkert is the flash in the pan that gets you excited about what he could be, though, as Freeman wisely pointed out, right now, he’s just not where the hype is. Though, that doesn’t mean Atlanta will want to risk losing him to another team’s front office who might see Benkert’s film and contemplate how it would be to stash him and develop him themselves.
As another Tweeter mentioned, the Falcons’ roster really is set right now, so of all the years they could afford to stash a developmental QB3, this would be it. Whoever got that roster spot would be inactive all season, anyway.
The next two weeks will be quite telling for Benkert and his future with the organization. He’s going to need to perform. If he does like he did against the Jets, we’ve got ourselves something to watch. If he doesn’t, it’s a bit easier to figure out where this goes.
Perhaps everyone in the league sees a practice squad QB at best, and the Falcons could luck out by cutting him and re-signing him there without a hassle. But if they don’t opt to keep him initially, he could get claimed off the waiver wire by a team who likes what they saw, and the team might already lose out on the best developmental prospect they’ve had in quite some time.
Get ready, folks, we might have a third quarterback to tag along with the Birds this year.